Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it can. On top of 2020, a 22-year-old male got stung by a bee in the eyeball. This rare case was recently described in the New England Journal of Medicine, detailing his unfortunate condition and recovery.
When the young man showed up at the emergency department, the bee’s stinger was jutting out of his left eye’s cornea — the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil, which helps the eye focus light. Due to the bee venom and tissue trauma, the eye swelled. As a result, the man was in pain and had poor vision in the affected eye.
“Ocular examination of the left eye showed diffuse corneal haziness caused by corneal edema; a retained stinger that was surrounded by infiltrates was visible (arrow in image),” Chana Sacks of the Massachusetts General Hospital wrote in the study.
According to the researchers, corneal bee stings are extremely rare and their manifestations range from mild irritations to vision loss. “Possible complications include corneal decompensation and secondary glaucoma,” doctors said.
In this case, the young man’s condition was very serious, but luckily, he was able to retain vision in the affected eye. After the patient was treated with an antibiotic solution, the stinger was removed under local anesthesia. Doctors then sutured the corneal wound and gave the patient two weeks’ worth of glucocorticoids, antibiotics, as well as anti-inflammatories and pain killers.
Three months later, the patient’s left eye largely recovered, Ars Technica reported. His visual acuity was 20/40 in the affected eye, and may improve in time to 20/20, as it was before the incident.